The Time of Hagalaz, Presumed Guilty Part Two

Chapter Twelve

The Cardassian corridor was silent and waiting. Her security misleadingly kept intact by the flickering threatening energy of her force fields engaged at either end when Sisko and his officers exited the turbolift to begin an initial sweep of the area. Damar was apprehensive; Odo wouldn't go as far as claiming the Legate to be nervous. Though he probably should be. If Damar lived to retire from his reign in exile as his predecessor Dukat before him had rather than die at the foot of his throne, he would be the second of only two Cardassian Emperors in recent times granted such a benevolent reprieve. The Cardassian Union, Klingon Empire, for that matter the Romulan Star Empire, were more alike than the three of them cared to admit.

"Ion," O'Brien identified the distortions in his readings in tune with Worf's nod. "The field's flooded -- I can't get a reading through this crap."

"Bring them down," Sisko directed.

"Well…" Dax moved up to him as Worf and Odo moved to the security panels to disable the fields. "It's either a malfunction…"

"Deliberate, Commander," Sisko promised, "most assuredly."

"You can say that again," Kira answered Odo's glance down the corridor towards the lingering appearance of a force field at the south end near the junction of a second corridor. "Holographic projector has been activated."

"Yes…" Odo drawled. "Isn't that interesting? Of course the turbolift is at the north end. So while the projection might be attractive, I don't see where it would detour anyone's entrance or egress."

"They didn't want to be disturbed," Dax solved the mystery of why ion fairly nicely.

"Yes," Odo said. "Presuming the ion stream was for their benefit to avoid detection, versus enacted for our benefit."

"To avoid detection," Dax also summed that theory up rather neatly. "It's all relative."

"So it is," Odo grunted. "Relative to a containment of ion six times the standard level. I'm not sure how much 'avoidance' played a role."

"We'd have to have reason to look."

"I thought we had a reason." Odo ogled Damar still noticeably uncomfortable with pursuing Bashir's theory. Reasonable, Odo continued to believe. It was something more than unnerving to propose the enemy could lie in wait so close. It was sheer luck the intruders had bigger and better places in mind to drive their point home instead of settling for the assassination of Damar or Dukat. It didn't have to be that way, and his Emperor knew it. The answer to why it wasn’t, was not one Odo liked any more than Sisko liked it. Regardless of Commander Dax's ruminations over who might be the actual target, the attack was clearly directed against all three; the Federation, Bajor, and Cardassia. Mere assassination of the Cardassian Emperor would not have been nearly as satisfying as knocking the pins out from under everyone. Refusal to cancel the conference almost guaranteed it was not over yet.

"Well, at least it supports the premise of infiltration -- from the beginning," Odo said. "Security would not have overlooked the presence of ion."

"Security hasn't been anywhere near here for hours." Kira was back from her hobble down the corridor.

"No, security hasn't," Odo acknowledged with emphasis and a look down at her swollen ankle constricted by her boot.

"Infirmary," Bashir reminded.

"It's fine."

"That's an order, Major," Sisko interjected.

"All right, it's an order," Kira had other things on her mind. "It's here. Whatever it is, it's here. Replacing the force field with a hologram gave them freedom to other corridors. The ion was to distort any readings…"

"Except of ion," Bashir said. "Not exactly undetectable."

"Covered that part," Odo replied. "Doubtful if it was in the plan for either Damar or Dukat to return."

"So the Bajoran terrorists didn't bother returning either?" Bashir moved slowly along the walls with Dax.

"Why risk it?" she shrugged. "We don't need ion to confirm there's been a security breech. We have Quark's."

"True."

"What?" Damar said hostilely to Odo's continued surveillance. "I've told you, my limited recollection of your parade of sentries is restricted to a singular incident of testing the supposed security fields."

"Yes, well," Odo said, "apparently you missed the part about hoping for a rotating group of intruders rather than a parade. And there are no security tests authorized during times of occupancy -- one would assume we would conduct them prior to occupancy."

Damar set to thinking about that, up to and including thinking of a reason to excuse his lack of attentiveness to his guards and his visible distress. Odo was tempted to ask him to stop thinking before they had another elaborate farce on their hands; this time designed to save Damar's face rather than Martok's crew. His Legate couldn't save face. For a man who embraced his master Dukat's sadistic side, ruling by intimidation and instilled fear, Damar was stupid not to question men he didn't know when he couldn't trust men he did know.

Odo was wrong. Damar's failure to pick up on the anomalous activity going on under his nose had nothing to do with falling short of his master's ingrained paranoia. Far more to do with being preoccupied with his master's sons who he remained willing to throttle the life out of with his bare hands and would, given the chance. In retrospect Damar knew exactly why security failed to pick up on any suspicious activity from transporters, to phasers, to holographic fields. They weren't security, and they likely picked up on everything. Quite unlike him. Damar wracked his brains trying to think of something he did notice beyond the tolerant and agreeable expression on the Task Leader's face.

"Anar," he announced. Seeing a young man, roughly his age in his mind's eye; less than half his ponderous size, around his height with brown hair and an ear cuff whose family mark he did not recognize. There was a taller, larger Bajoran, perhaps ten years older, standing next to the Task Leader. Another between their two sizes and ages, standing on his right. It was the one Rhome from the conference room at lunch time. His rank wasn't Captain though, it was something else. Deputy. He was nervous, opposed to the Leader's tranquility and the other one's silence.

"All right, I'll bite," Odo took his chances Anar might be something other than some obscure Cardassian cuss word.

"Captain Anar," Damar submitted the recollected rank and name of the last Security Captain posting control over the corridor just prior to leaving for dinner last evening. "Your Rhome was acting Deputy. He stayed behind with three others -- I complained, if you recall," he smirked suddenly, not having to save face after all. The one who might have to was Odo for refusing to listen to the complaint about an unanticipated change of guard.

"Hm. Wrong change of guard," Odo admitted that much, ogling Sisko in head to head conference with the Chief and Kira. Meanwhile, Commander Dax and Dr. Bashir continuing their diligent scans of the corridor, square meter by square meter in hopes of detecting something organic among the invisible ion particles distorting their readings.

"Yes," Worf said from behind Odo with marked affirmation. "Captain Anar. He was the Task Leader of the station's Bajoran force to whom the group of suspects were remanded."

"Your group of suspects, apparently," Odo replied.

"Yes," Worf agreed. "Naturally."

"Yes, well, as naturally the Task force assigned here was Special Forces not station security," Odo stepped to bring this reputed Captain Anar to Sisko's attention while Worf puzzled over the portion of the conversation between Damar and Odo he had missed.


"Chief?" Sisko hoped for the best.

"We've got some kind of energy discharge. You want to call it a phaser, we'll call it a phaser."

"Good," Damar approved of any hasty decision, still failing to see the need for the exercise. "It's not as if you're trying to prevent something from happening, Captain."

"No, we're gathering data," Bashir rejoined them.

"The point is why?" Damar insisted. "I believe I would have heard a phaser discharge and noticed one less mannequin."

Mannequin was a good word. Sisko eyed the standing row of unoccupied, sealed cabins, thinking about Bashir's suggestion of an officer caught off guard by his stand in. The time of death put Legate Damar and Gul Dukat still on the corridor. "Open them," he instructed Worf. "You were about to say something, Constable?"

Odo was. "Task Leader Anar. Two different suspects, same identity, or same suspect, change of uniform. Bold either way -- though I wouldn't think bold enough to give us his name. If it's Bajoran, I've never heard it."

It was a new one for Sisko also. "Group identity perhaps? Major?"

"It's not Bajoran," Kira agreed. "Possibly an acronym for their organization, yes; I'll think about it."

"Or possibly some other culture. I'll check it out," Odo suspected more than the compiled list of probabilities would be impractical. "Think you would be able to recognize him?" he chanced asking Damar.

"Generally unremarkable and disinterested," Damar assured.

"Him or you?" Odo turned away with Dax's excited call for Benjamin.


"It's definitely Bajoran," Bashir's laser cut though the carpeting to remove a small sample of the material stained with organic residue.

"Excellent, Doctor." Sisko waited for the Chief's determination of any transporter trace; it was there. Ten hours post, easily. What wasn't there was any indication of a phaser discharge; as was the computer console clean of any activity.

"It's probably safe to presume Rhome was killed in the corridor." Dax was aware Sisko's interest in gathering facts quickly lay with an expected new barrage of complaints from the Cardassian Union. The first series had already resulted in ten Cardassian sentries being added to the roster; not exactly what Benjamin had in mind.

"Either way it puts both Damar and Dukat here," Sisko was scowling at the cabin immediately across the way; Dukat's. And Damar's not two doors away. "Open them up."

"What?" Damar blustered immediately with the prospect of getting caught by evidence he would not be able to explain.

"Humor us, Legate," Sisko appealed. "We wouldn't want the same thing happening again."

"Which it won't. Not with my security," Damar's registered protest still got him nowhere. He settled for having to gamble on denial and liberal accusations of a conspiracy. Both turned out to be unnecessary. Explanations for the condition of Dukat's quarters beyond the Bajoran terrorists never entered into the equation.


"Possibly not a bad idea," Dax succumbed to agreeing a few added sentries might not be a bad idea when they entered Dukat's cabin to find it in a moderate state of disarray, from an overturned chair or three, to a broken lamp or two, to a cracked computer display.

"Yes," Odo said.

The Chief was more to the point. "What the heck happened in here?"

"Boys will be boys?" Dax picked up what may have once been the missing fourth chair, now reduced to an interesting mass of sculptured alloys.

"Transporter test article," Sisko nodded. "Chief, check the display."

He was checking; not needing to do much more than activate it. "Bingo. Here's your control center -- one of them, anyway," he verified his tricorder readings. "Residuals for both transporter and phaser activity."

"Well, everything but the phaser discharge makes sense," Bashir agreed. "Utilizing Dukat's quarters is one thing. But Rhome couldn't possibly have been killed in here."

"Why not?" Odo grunted, thinking of their Gul Dukat who they would probably have had to tie down to keep him from being involved in everything, everywhere. These other two, Damar and Anon, could apparently have a parade come down the hall and never notice.

"Four," O'Brien reminded, lest they forget there were two more pairs of Cardassian ears and eyes, equally unobservant; one of them also named Dukat.

No one had forgotten. "Well…" Dax smiled diplomatically, "I think we all know Mister Paq was for show."

"Um, hm," Odo said to Kira. "And the other one's excuse? Other than his tender age and sensitive moods?"

Kira ignored him even though it was accurate to say by age twelve she was active in the Resistance and had given up late afternoon naps quite some time before that. "Bashir?"

Bashir shook his head. "There's traces of Bajoran DNA on the console as expected, but other than that -- nothing. I'm sorry, because, yes, if it wasn't for the failed test article, it could look as if there had been a fight in here."

"There still may have been." Sisko wasn't convinced the phaser firing was just for show and that they didn't have another body in the morgue that ended up in Quark's; not started out there.

"Well, he or she wasn't killed here," Bashir maintained the room was relatively free enough of ion distortion to ensure reasonably accurate screenings.

"No, likely only stunned," Sisko surmised. "Full analysis, Chief, Mister Worf, as before -- Dax," he preempted Bashir's participation, handing the responsibility to Dax.

"Oh, quite," Bashir grinned at Kira. "I believe we have a date."

"Yes. As well as General Martok's crew, " Sisko agreed. "Regarding Sentinel Dukat's release -- "

"I'll take care of it," Kira was abrupt and insistent.

Damar snorted, not having to say anything more. It wasn't very likely Kira would find her loyalty to Ziyal reciprocated by the siblings.

"That will be fine, Major." Sisko corresponded in choosing to overlook Kira's tone and Damar's unspoken insinuation, "once Gul Dukat has been informed of the panel's decision and Cardassian security has reported for duty to Odo. Until then, Sentinel Dukat remains in protective custody -- in his own best interest, Major," he cited more than the obvious state of his quarters as example.

“There’s also General Martok,” Odo added. “Wouldn’t hurt to keep him in mind.”

"At all times, Constable," Sisko stressed, not to play favorites as far as who was more capable than whom at making things appear different than they were; which they weren't. Not here. Dukat's quarters looked like they had been used, not necessarily abused. A scuffle possibly between the intruders and an uninvited guest, likely a second security officer following Dukat's and Damar's departure from the corridor for Quark's and that destiny. Random transporter tests; one of which clearly failed. It was all rather cut and dried. The Bajoran effort was to get out of there, destroying what evidence they could that might identify them, and not worrying about the evidence that would implicate them. Odo highly doubted if an attempt to implicate Damar and his Cardassians even crossed their minds.

"Sorry to disappoint you," Odo expressed condolences to Damar who was a little quieter in his clear disapproval than he might have thought the Emperor would be, but nothing more suspicious than that.

"On the contrary, Constable," Damar turned on his heel to exit along with the rest of them, "it's you who disappoint me."

"You'll get over it," Odo's interest was still piqued by Kira. "Want to take care of notifying Dukat also -- since you'll be there?"

She looked at him. "What's the matter with you?"

"Nothing. What's the matter with you?"

She couldn't answer that…or maybe she could. She eyed the broad back of Damar strutting down the corridor for the turbolift. "I don't trust him."

"Who does?"

"That's the point, isn't it?" she insisted.

Odo supposed, if she meant there was nothing to stop Damar from wishing the terrorist attack had turned out more to his advantage; there wasn't. There also wasn't anything to stop Anon or Pfrann Dukat from wishing the same. Individual or general threats to society, both brothers were still threats. One proven quick to pull a dagger, the other proven quick to use one. Something nagged at the back of Odo's mind about the Infirmary business Sunday night, now wondering if Anon had pulled Martok's dagger in threat, or simply before his brother did. He had an idea he was right in thinking both.

"Dukat I can handle," Kira decided, either meaning Pfrann specifically or the enigma in general.

"Apparently," Odo agreed how she thought she could. That didn't explain why she felt the need to “handle” either of them.

Because she felt responsible. Not just for the Dukat brothers, but Lange also. She hobbled away from Odo, feeling the brush of Damar's uniform against her arm as she stood next to him in the turbolift.

"On the other hand," Odo supposed there was nothing to stop Kira from wishing things had worked out a little differently at the close of Federation-Dominion war with Damar as dead as Ziyal. So there was an explanation for her steadfast allegiance to Dukat's brood after all. It wasn't Dukat she upheld, it was Damar she denounced.


"This is unbelievable," O'Brien scanned through the display setup with its reasonably clean gateway to just about everywhere. It was several hours work, just like on the Promenade. The intruders moved in the moment Damar and Dukat did, if not before them. "You're telling me no one noticed anything? I'm not talking about the console -- I'm talking about anything. You've got six guards walking you to your quarters, you've got six different guards when you come out of your quarters. What did Damar think we were doing? Rotating them every twenty minutes? We're talking sense here. Get some common sense."

"Well…" Dax hated to be the one to say it but, "actually what Damar and Dukat were doing was following orders not to interfere."

"A fine time they picked," O'Brien snorted.

"This is true," Dax smiled at Worf, anxious for a chance to ask him privately what actually had happened between Martok and Pfrann Dukat. Not because of Kira's or Odo's dickering, but because Worf's evasion of Benjamin's questions was just so unlike him.


"You're in luck," Bashir zippered Kira's feet up inside a lovely pair of air-cushioned lunar boots. "With the number of fractured ankles we've had, you might have had to settle for some old fashioned splinting until we could replicate a pair your size."

"You call this luck?" Kira critically eyed her legs sticking out stiff and straight in front of her; the thick, spongy cylinders encircling her calves to her toes. "I'm six inches shorter than when I came in here, and my ankles weren't this fat when I was pregnant."

"Perhaps not six inches," Bashir handed over her surviving left boot that did have a reasonably high stacked heel of about three s. "And one would certainly hope your ankles weren't this size -- less than half," he winked. "You just couldn't see them. I should also point out, not negating the value of elevation beyond a wonderful ploy for sympathy and having people fetch and carry for you, that your knees can bend."

She knew they could bend. "Why do I have to wear two?"

"To keep your gait level and relieve the strain you've put on your back hobbling around for the last ten hours -- come on," he helped her down off the examining table. "Forty-eight hours and you'll be as mobile as you ever were. Until then, you're a great deal more mobile than you would be without them -- how do they feel?"

"Comfortable and fat," she grumbled.

"Perfect. A little practice and you'll forget you're even wearing them."

"If I'm not back with a broken neck." Kira slid carefully for the door. "I know, bend. I'm bending. They're not."


Kira graduated to marching, mastering a slapping, flatfooted tramp by the time she reached the security holding area. Seeing Pfrann behind the force field of his isolation cell she knew she was right and Odo was dead wrong; she could handle him. She could talk, knowing what to say and what not to and even how to walk with him; relaxed and unhurried by his swaying, sauntering stroll, slowed to keep pace with her. He was taller than his father, or maybe he wasn't. Kira remembered the flat cushioned soles of her lunar boots. Somewhere between the time she changed shoes, Pfrann achieved the height of Martok with the top of Kira's head dropping to just below his chest.

It didn't matter though. He was hardly intimidating; barely an adult. The functional, simplistic design of the Cardassian uniform, on him, looked as if he was wearing his father's shirt. The slashing, straight collar of his tunic accentuated the narrowness of his broad shoulders; the protective plate shielding his prominent breastbone unsupported by muscle, rose sharply pointed. Without testing his pagh, Kira knew his life force was strikingly similar to Ziyal's. Passive, gentle and smoothly flowing, Ziyal was capable of rearing in blinding rage against the father she idolized. Pfrann was capable of rearing viciously and unforgiving against an enemy. They were both still Cardassian. One male, one female. One whole, one half. They were both still their father's children and right now this one looked about as dangerous as any other frightened and confused seventeen year old.

Desperate, deep concern for his brother haunted his yellow eyes; shook in the trembling nervousness of his hands. Separating the two of them had been shattering. Pfrann was surprised to see Kira, secretly relieved to find her standing there. Voiced concerns over her presence and involvement had to do with terrified apprehension over Anon's reaction; far less severe than he had feared. The relationship between their father and Kira Nerys deemed potent and lethal by Anon, failed to impress itself upon him. If there was a mystery, he didn't see one, less interested in proving, disproving or even wondering about one. His father was his father. Whatever his father did, he did. The headache Anon strove to protect him from was his own. What Pfrann expected of Major Kira Nerys he got. Acknowledgment and recognition. Offers of assistance waiting to be accepted. She was useful. For whatever her own reasons, Pfrann ardently concurred with Kira's belief there was no difference between him and Ziyal. Equally entitled to the same treatment and helping hand.

"Come on," Kira's hand beckoned him out from the solitary confinement of his cell into the freedom of the corridor.

Pfrann's hesitation was brief. Immediately transforming from teary-eyed child to boastful self-confidence as he crossed the threshold, falling into his father's familiar slow saunter beside her with a provocative swish of his head and hips. "Aren't you afraid I'll escape?"

Kira bit back her laugh. To save herself the trouble of having to chase after him down the Promenade she handed him a padd to review along with her assurance. He had a position and therefore status. She talked to that part of him. "You won't escape -- that's a summary of the situation. An agreement has been reached for the induction of ten sentries -- Damar said Dukat would be the one to take care of that?"

"Yes, that would be Anon's decision," Pfrann forgot about being impish; eagerly accepting the chance to bring himself current with their standing.

"You can discuss it with him," Kira nodded.

She was wrong. There was nothing to discuss. Pfrann knew what his brother's decision would be already; he knew what it was. When Anon saw this? Summaries or details, there were two glaring errors Pfrann spotted immediately. One was the jumbled nonsense about their quarters. The other was a computer generated picture of one of the Bajoran's responsible for Anon's assault; Anar's Deputy Dak'jar. That was not possible…unless? Anar's Dak'jar was Anar's Mister Damar? A traitor. If that was true Pfrann knew immediately who was behind the attack even if he didn't know their names. The Maquis. Janice as much in danger of a second attempt as either of them. Anon would stop thinking at Janice. That was another relationship Pfrann didn't fully comprehend other than he knew it was real. It existed. Not imaginary in its potency or control.

"Are we going to the Infirmary?" Pfrann looked up from the padd to the direction their walk was taking them.

"Yes," Kira smiled. "You can't be remanded to your quarters until the Cardassian security force is in place."

She had the two of them confused. He was the Sentinel. Anon was the officer and commander their father played at being when he grew tired of playing at being something else. Pfrann's impish, fiendish feature resurfaced momentarily. His regarding sly glance over Kira ended at her fat, cushioned feet. She walked like she had two broken ankles. The picture was comical and he laughed; aware he felt comfortable in being able to do so. His father apparently did also until he grew tired of her distractions, reaffirming her status of an enemy. Her stamina and spirit an enraging example of Bajoran disobedience and refusal to submit to a superior species. Their relationship was a power struggle, not a love affair. Entrenched, and likely to continue until the day one or the other finally died.

Kira didn't have either Pfrann or Anon confused with each other; with Mikor, possibly, yes. She couldn't decide if the troublesome son Dukat had infrequently spoken of was Mikor, as she had assumed it was, or was instead Pfrann -- who snickered before he laughed. Burying his amusement behind the padd when he stopped abruptly to turn away from her for a shortened spell of raucous laughter.

"I know," Kira assured before he offered some inane comment in excuse, "I look like I'm ready to take a walk across a zero-gravity field."

"Just so you know," Pfrann shrugged, it not really mattering to him; why should it? Anon was the one with the crazy ideas from their mother to their father, to Tora Naprem, to Ziyal, to her, Kira Nerys, and now to Janice. Discounting Janice, who Pfrann did like even if he couldn't understand the extent of Anon's attraction, Anon should spend as much time worrying about things like Damar blasting him away with a phaser as easily and without remorse as he had blasted their sister Ziyal. Anon had their father's arrogance and belief of matchless power; lacking only his ability to play games. Their game. Them. The infamous Us against Them. It wasn't too easy to win games you didn't know how to play.

There were almost as many guards in the isolation ward of the Infirmary as there were posted along the security holding cells. Anon's room was at the end of the line of quartered injured suspects patiently and impatiently waiting out the slow and tedious process of identification. He was the other side of Pfrann's Dukat. The creature Kira hated. Brutally cold and sadistic, controlling and power mad. She knew how to talk to him as well. Exactly what to say. So did he.


"Don't you knock?" Anon was curt, the heat in the room suffocating when Kira entered to find him reclining in a chair like a heavily pregnant woman. The stiff position insolent and uninviting, the abdomen he protected, while not cumbersomely swollen, had been stabbed much to his discomfort and annoyance. He wasn't pain-free and fine as Bashir pronounced. He was complaining and uncooperative as any other self-respecting Cardassian would be. Seeing Kira made his vile mood worse.

Seeing him, Kira had to agree with Quark. He did look like a muscle-bound bullfrog with his thick neck lost and folded inside the powerful rise of his shoulders. The elaborate, some would say unattractive, ecto design of the Cardassian structure largely confined to the skull and thoracic region, he remained decidedly not Bajoran without his shirt. A man, not a child. This was no fledgling of Dukat's poised on the brink of adulthood. This was a Cardassian fully grown. Kira yanked the padd Anon worked over out of his hand, tossing it on the bed. "You're supposed to be convalescing, not redefining the universe."

She was out of her mind; insane as well as a nuisance. Anon didn't bother to try and rise; knowing if he did he would just shove her out of the way. He nodded for Pfrann to collect the data padd for him. "Give me that -- You," he directed Kira, "get out of here now."

She turned from him for the console. Anon didn't care why. Pfrann had an idea. He tried it out, along with trying to hand Anon Kira's summary of the Federation reports. "Authority has been granted for a squad -- "

"We don't need a squad of anything," Anon took Kira's padd from him to fling it aside. "We're leaving. Give me the proposal. They want a conference, they have it. On Cardassia. I am not dying to make my point, neither are you or anyone." He meant Janice. He remembered Quark's up to the time he didn't remember anything; he was by far not the only victim of the terrorist assault. Hundreds of people were dead. Janice alive only because he took the Bajoran's knife to his stomach for her.

Pfrann stared at the padd on the bed. He and Anon interrupted by Kira's identifying signal to the Tir, their Galor-glass battle cruiser. Anon's head snapped around to her. "What are you doing?"

Her reply was emotionless. "Issuing your order for the assignment of ten sentries."

His helmsman obediently appeared on the monitor screen. Anon blinked. "The conference is canceled!" He pushed himself to his feet enraged; towering above her, dwarfing her with his massive size, his hand raised and poised to push her away from the console.

She didn't flinch; calling his bluff. "You don't have the authority."

He almost told her how he was the representative and without him there was no conference. He almost asked her the pressing question if she truly was crazy? What were ten sentries against an army of Maquis other than suicide? He didn't bother. His hand pushed her aside. It didn't take much to move her. Her balance wasn't good in those stupid boots she wore. He could see his mother jumping over tables. Somersaulting and cartwheeling her way through, past an onslaught of terrorists; he didn't think so. Kira caught her balance with the assistance of the console. Anon heard a voice call out his name in authority and warning. It wasn't Pfrann. It was familiar; from somewhere in the background on his bridge behind the startled expression of his helmsman on screen. It wasn't Tan. Pfrann heard and recognized the voice also. Nerys was too busy screaming something at him.

"Wait a minute," Anon instructed his helmsman, severing the link.

Kira flew into a rage, fighting to reconnect the signal, Anon slapping and pushing at her hands. Finally Pfrann surrendered to grabbing Kira from behind, holding her arms. By that time Odo was there, having wandered his way over following a call to him from security, in time to hear the yelling and shouting that didn't particularly impress him. Kira sandwiched between the two of them didn't particularly surprise him. Pfrann's repetitive, somewhat earnest, calming request of his brother to take a breath and a step back from the shouting match before he lost his temper completely and snapped Kira in half possibly did. A little. The fact that it registered after the second or third time surprised Odo up to the point that Anon still fought to have the final say. That was standard. So was Kira's steadfast defiance and refusal to yield. In all, Odo felt they could resolve it on their own, waiting in the background to make sure. He didn't have to wait long.

"Listen to me!" Anon's arm came towards Kira again, stopping to strike an imaginary line across the console. "This is it! All right? This is the line. Don't cross it. I don't find you entertaining like my father. Understand that? I don't."

That was interesting. Deserved to an extent. Perhaps not the part about linking Kira with Dukat's legacy of trophies, just the overstepping of boundaries. Strange, but Odo had not considered Anon's impression of Kira might include a level of personal resentment in contrast to his brother's apparent level of personal acceptance. For whatever either was worth.

"Let her go," Anon directed Pfrann. He did.

"What did you say to me?" Kira wasn't finished yet. Hearing her name commingled with the masses was a bit much to take.

"Yes, well," Odo interceded before they had another Martok/Pfrann situation on their hands and a new debate over who was responsible for instigating whom.

"I told you before you are not my mother." Anon stooped to elevating Kira a step or two above the rank of ordinary mistress, in his opinion. He may as well have slapped her in the face, in hers.

"No she isn't," Odo agreed before Kira slapped Anon's. "Major would be more accurate. So before I'm obligated to start arresting people again…" And having to listen to it all over again…Kira walked out there, ending the fracas. That was satisfactory. "I'll be expecting your Task Leader." Odo left with that note of reminder.

That's what he thought. Nothing had changed. They were leaving. That was Anar's voice behind his helmsman. Dak'jar who tried to kill him, Janice and everyone else there in Quark's at the time. Anon pulled on his tunic. "I'm not angry with you." He meant Pfrann's incarceration and the reasons why.

"Did you kill Dak'jar?" Pfrann asked.

"No."

"Someone did."

"Coincidence probably." Anon re-signaled his battle cruiser. "I don't think Janice realized who he was. It happened too quickly -- she left me a note. Hello. She was here, I was sleeping -- I don't know why she just didn't wake me up…" he glanced from his helmsman back on screen to the padd in Pfrann's hand; it was the Federation's analysis.

"There were two of them."

"I think I know that," Anon agreed impatiently. "I don't know who the other one was. A thin man. Small like a ferret. He was assigned to the corridor and with us at lunch. It wasn't Hawk. I would know Hawk -- so would you. His face might be his own, but his eyes and his attitude are Shakaar." That's what Anar had said once anyway. You couldn't escape Shakaar, any more than you could escape Dukat.

"Did you kill him the second one?" That was Pfrann's interest. Anon glanced again to the padd in his brother's hand. "Someone did. And half of Martok's bridge crew. Sisko's looking for who he thinks is Anar. It isn't. I think it's Hawk. Telling everyone he's Anar -- though they describe Anar, Anon. Read it," he attempted to force the padd into Anon's fist. "Sisko's reports describe Anar --"

"They can't be," Anon insisted. "Describing Anar, they would describe Shakaar Adon. Anar would never be that stupid to let anyone get that close to him -- would he?" he demanded of his helmsman on screen. "I am your commander, not Kira Nerys."

"You are my commander," his helmsman assured.

"Just get Anar," Anon ordered impatiently. "He's there. I heard him."


Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.